Chef Of The Month August 2015: James Vickers

James Vickers ,
Althams Butchers

Born and raised in Nottingham, I knew very early on I wanted to be a chef. I started my training at new college Nottingham, where I studied a year before finishing as an apprentice at Merchants restaurant, at the time a 2 rosette standard pushing for the ultimate Michelin star. I was heavily influenced by my head chef, with classic French methods, techniques and style. Working my way around the restaurants Nottingham had to offer, I took the reigns as head chef at Punchinellos, Nottingham's oldest restaurant, at just 19 years old. I then took on more experiences such as Jamie's Italian. The largest influence has to be working for three years in Ibiza. I had an amazing, crazy time where I was lucky enough to maintain my career and enjoy everything else the island has to offer! (Many unforgettable nights!!)

Stepping out of the kitchens, I have spent the past 2 years in the motor industry as a sales executive, an environment not typical of a chef. However it ultimately lead me to my perfect job as a sales executive for Althams. The job is simply the best of all I've done combined, I get to be in the kitchens talking food with different chefs all day and searching for places I've never been.


Braised "Red Bank Farm Morecambe Bay Salt Marsh Lamb" shoulder, Jersey Royal fondant, Pea, Broad bean & Horseradish Chantilly

To Marinade the Meat.

  • 1k Saltmarsh Lamb shoulder, diced
  • Mint, Chives, Coriander, Small handful of each finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed fennel seed
  • 1tsp Mint sauce
  • 1tsp Marmite
  • Black pepper

Braising Liquor.

  • 1 onion
  • Carrot
  • Garlic
  • Bay Leaf
  • Tomato Puree
  • 1 1/2 ltr Chicken Stock

To finish the meat.

  • Serrano Ham
  • 1/2 Onion, Finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, Grated
  • Mint
  • Coriander
  • 100g Butter

Jersey Royal fondants.

  • Jersey Royal Potatoes
  • 10g Salted butter for each potato
  • Chicken stock
  • Rosemary
  • Salt & Cracked pepper

Horseradish Chantilly.

  • Double Cream
  • Creamed Horseradish
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Chives

Garden peas & Broad beans



1. Take all the marinade ingredients and mix well until all the meat has an even covering, Marinate overnight

2. For the braising liquor, roughly chop the onion (including skin), Carrot & garlic. Start to sweat down on a gentle heat. Add the Lamb, turn up the heat and start to colour the meat. Once coloured mix in the tomato puree and start cook out. Cover with the chicken stock and simmer for approx. 3hours, Stirring and skimming occasionally.

3. Once the meat is soft, pass through a colander, keeping the liquor, return the liquor to the heat and leave to gently reduce.

4. Take the meat and separate, discard all the veg and begin to shred the Lamb. Gently fry the diced onion, add the butter, garlic and confit for 10-15 minutes until soft. Take off the heat and add the herbs, mix this with the shredded lamb until the mix begins to bind. Season to taste.

5. Lay a sheet of cling film on the work bench, lay your serrano ham in strips across overlapping each piece. Place the Lamb mix across the bottom of the ham, lifting only the Clingfilm, role the serrano around the lamb mix making a cylinder shape, pull tightly with the cling film to compress the mix and make an even shape. Tie the ends and leave to set in the fridge.

6. For the fondant, lengthways, take a thin slice off the top and bottom of the jersey royal, making a flat even surface on the potato. For each portion you want approx. a 10g slice of butter. Using a frying pan, heavily season the base of the pan with salt and pepper. Lay each potato on top of the butter then in the pan, add enough chicken stock or water to cover half way up the potato. Gently bring to simmer and leave until all the liquor has reduced and the potato base has a golden colour. Turn over and repeat until the potato has an even colour and is cooked through.

7. For the Chantilly, whip the double cream to soft peak, mix in the creamed horseradish to taste along with the chopped chives and seasoning.

8. To finish, once the meat is set, slice into even portions, fry the top and bottom of the cylinder and warm through in the oven until the serrano is crispy.

9. To warm & season the peas. In a hot sauce pan add a knob of butter and wait until it begins to froth golden, add the peas, broad beans, fresh mint and seasoning.